A Chorley woman, who was among a select group of life-changing surgeons, nurses and doctors, has just returned to the UK following its annual charity work in India.
Mum-of-two Julia Patterson, of Blackburn Road, Chorley, was part of the dedicated team of health care professionals who all belong to the Northern Cleft Foundation.
They carried out 135 successful operations in just nine days.
The charity specialises in the treatment of cheiloschisis and palatoschisis – cleft lips and palates – which deform the mouth and affect 35,000 children in India annually.
Julia, 59, is a teacher of advanced life support, and got involved with the charity four years ago.
She has travelled with the team five times, four times to Nagpur and once to Aurangabad.
Having worked at Euxton Hall Hospital, Euxton, for many years, Julia heard about the good work being done and asked to get involved.
Every year she must raise a minimum of £1,500 to fund her travel costs and the costs of surgery, and every other team member must do the same.
“It is a joy and a privilege to feel like we’re making a difference in the lives of so many children,” she said.
“I focus on the aftercare of the patients when they have had their surgery.
“We do everything possible to comfort them and make them feel happy.
“The facilities available are often very basic, and so we must bring a lot of the specialist equipment ourselves.”
She added: “We would not be able to carry out this important work without the donations of friends, family and anyone else who would like to make a real difference in a young person’s life.”
The team will be returning to India again in September.